tv Ronan Farrow Daily MSNBC February 6, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST
news, the u.s. government not yet confirming isis' claims that an american hostage has been killed in an air strike. isis is claiming the female hostage died in a jordanian air strike near raqqa. we're not identifying the woman in all of our reporting today, that's at the family's request. here's marie harf at the state department. >> i cannot confirm those reports in any way. people are looking into them but can not confirm them. >> today jordan launched a second round of strikes on isis in retaliation for the murder of their pilot. a military offense named in honor of that man. thousands were on the streets and led by queen ran ya holding pictures of their fallen pilot. joining me on the phone, evan kohlmann, i want to start with you and what we know about this claim that the american hostage
was killed in an air strike. >> it appears to come out of an isis media unit or isis linked media unit in raqqa. the claim itself is fairly short. it simply says as a result of continuous air strikes by jordanian aircraft outside of the city of raqqa that an american female hostage was killed. the message does include pii information, her name her address, in the united states and her e-mail address and try to authentic ate this and there are images provided which appear to show a demolished or semidemolished apartment complex outside of raqqa, which was one of the areas hit by jordanians and where the hostage was killed. now, in terms of authentic ating it beyond that, there's difficult.
there's no photo no proof of that regard. this is not from isis' official main media unit. this is not from the media unit releasing the beheading videos and execution videos. it's to be said we haven't heard from isis official media wing yet. nonetheless, it does come from what we would deem to be a fairly credible source and at this point with the pii information, it's not impossible to get it off the internet but it would seem to add some level of credibility to this claim from these folks, whether or not that will be further, presumably we'll hear something further that the two official media wings, two most prominent wings from isis. >> one thing we do know is that isis has been unreliable in what it's told the world about the condition of the hostages. and those negotiations ongoing with jordan at a point in which the jordanian hostage was
already killed. point taken this is not at all anywhere near confirmed yet. every evan what does the u.s. government know about where this woman might have been held how she might have been treated? >> look, there hasn't been a lot put o there yet. part of that is in an effort to try to shield this woman and save her life if possible. i don't think we want to talk too much about who she is. she is -- she was working as a humanitarian aid worker in turkey before she was in syria. obviously it's not thought that she's -- there under her own will. it seems she's -- she's being held against her will. what exactly has been done to her in custody, it's not clear. there are reports that perhaps she might have been married off to an isis fighter. it's not really clear whether that's accurate or not. and again, it's not even clear whether or not even if she was killed, whether she was actually killed in these air strikes.
let's remember this is a group that has made a business out of murdering people on camera and off camera. so how and the circumstances they say she died it's difficult to know whether that's accurate. >> whatever has happened today, our thoutsz are with that family and the whole country is watching to see what her fate is. the pentagon also reacting in a big way right now. according to jim miklaszewski says the entire intel community lit up immediately hearing this claim from isis. unverified at this point. jim miklaszewski is following this for us. how does this match up with what we actually know has happened on the ground? what air strikes we are aware having conducted by the jordanians. >> well, nothing really matches because it's not clear exactly where if in fact this american woman has been killed or how she was killed where and when that happened. according to the claims it happened during yesterday's air
strikes carried out by jordan f-16s but again officials here first of all are still scrambling. a few minutes ago, look, we're still looking, the entire intel community is lit up and trying to find out as much information as they can. but even if the woman would unfortunately be found dead officials here say it would be impossible to verify that she was killed in an air strike because as you know the isis has become such masters in video stage craft. it would be easy to stage a body to look at if it appeared to have been killed in an air strike. but they say for propaganda purposes they understand what isis is up to but their main goal now is to determine if in fact she was killed and they still don't have word of that. but i can tell you that people here are not very optimistic at this point. >> jim, obviously it's always a concern that there might be
civilian casualties with these kind of air strikes and i'm sure particularly a concern knowing that the u.s. hostage was in isis custody for u.s. strikes. but for jordanian strikes, what's the process for identifying isis targets or ensuring or best of their abilities trying to ensure there aren't prisoners in the mix? >> it's a complicating and thorough process to pick out these targets that require days sometimes weeks of surveillance to determine exactly where these coalition air strikes should be aimed. i can tell you that conducted by the jordanians in the area were aimed at weapons depots and logistics sites, supply depots for isis fighters and they were not evennessly named -- aimed at large con gregations of isis forces. think of warehouse district. a hostage could be hidden
anywhere held anywhere in that northern syria area. intel on that is very difficult as we found out in the failed hostage rescue attempt there in syria for the american james foley, who was later assassinated on camera. but you know it's one of those intangibles when you're bombing a building you never know exactly what is inside. you have a good idea based on your intelligence. it's always possible that there are civilians inside the building in many cases but there was no indication that this hostage, this american woman, would have been in any of those military -- and i stress military style targets. >> jim miklaszewski thank you for that update. of course the accusation is that this is a jordanian air strike and that country has been reacting today, joining me from amman, keir simmons. what is the mood like amongst
jordanian officials? what have you been hearing about the response to this claim? >> well we have been talking to jordanian officials, ronan and to back up what jim miklaszewski was saying there that the jordanians are telling us they cannot confirm what is in the end as you've been reporting a claim by isis not corroborated not confirmed by nbc news but a government spokesperson also just in the last few minutes has said to us, to dispute what isis is saying. that spokesperson said to us how could they know that this was a jordanian air raid that caused this if it was the case and if it was the case and that is a very big if why would this woman be a weapons depot or storage area? the jordanians unofficially
saying to us that they cannot confirm this but at the same time, already saying hold on let's ask some questions about what isis is claiming because as we know and as the folks you've been talking to so far have made clear, we know that isis would absolutely bend the truth in order -- if it would work for them in terms of propaganda and we cannot know whether or not it is the case that a u.s. female hostage has been killed. certainly and to go back to your question there, it is the case that here in jordan the public have rallied behind the air strikes that have been launched by the jordanians in the last few days after the horrendous murder execution of their pilot. and so the isis will be attempted to shift public opinion again. >> of course ach the assassination of that jordanian pilot, this is a country already so inflamed against isis we saw
the video of the queen joining marches in the streets there. what is the response from people there to how the monarchy has handled these last few days in a tense jordan? >> reporter: you're right, it's extraordinary because the father of that pilot, just before that video was released was in public saying things like why is jordan involved in this fight. now there are thousands on pt street saying we must fight isis. we went down to a demonstration today and talked to young people saying things like jordan is now at war with isis. we will take revenge. we will do everything that is necessary. now, that thousands in the streets, that isn't the entire population of jordan many millions by any means but it appears to be a shift in opinion in jordan backing air strikes and we think there may have been as 30 jordanian air strikes just
yesterday backed by the u.s. and in some cases we believe u.s. planes flying alongside the jordanians during those raids. so there has been a change in public opinion and this is as well as a war, propaganda war between the different sides and isis is very much part of that. >> nbc's keir simmons, we looked at the rks in the defense department and also reacting right now is the white house. kristen welker is following how they are dealing with the accusation. what's the latest on this claim and how credible white house officials find it? >> reporter: the white house is not able to confirm this claim. i can tell you eric shultz briefing reporters aboard air force one moments ago said the administration is working to determine whether or not it claim is credible. i have this statement from nsc bernadette meehan we are deeply concerned by the reports. we have not at this time seen
any evidence that corroborates isil's claim. but they are clearly tracking this quite closely. president obama on his way to indianapolis as we speak. he is scheduled to speak about the economy. but yet again, these events in the middle east and syria are overtaking the focus here at the white house. now, this comes as susan rice in just moments from now will talk about and unveil president obama's national security moving forward the next few years. a key part of that is going to be the fight against isis. just yesterday the administration signing a memorandum with jordan vowing new aid as the two countries fight in concert together against isis. of course that includes air strikes, jordan just launching a new round of air strikes against isis targets in syria. it also comes as president obama is seeking authorization from congress for this campaign against isis. we're told by administration
officials that he will submit that request within the coming days. so again president obama heading to indianapolis to talk about the economy but clearly the focus here behind the scenes at the white house is trying to determine whether or not there's any credibility to this report. ronan? >> rapidly changing situation still a lot of questions about this claim. thank you so much kristen welker for that. >> up next we're going to continue on this breaking coverage of isis' claims that the u.s. hostage we've been following the fate of has been killed. whether or not that's true we'll continue to track. that's national security adviser susan rice who as we speak is laying out administration's new strategy for national security on a day that's turning out to be more tense than ever expected for that announcement. we'll check in with chuck todd to help us sort through what's going on. later in the show in the entertainment world, my life one on one interview with e.l. james, the author of "fifty shades of gray."
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welcome back we're following breaking news the u.s. government reacting in real time to a claim from isis that their sole remaining u.s. hostage has been killed killed in an air strike by jordan. at this very moment susan rice is laying out the administration's new strategy for national security. the administration pushing back in her remarks against critics that claim the u.s. has been too slow at dealing with foreign policy crises like today's. saying we have to avoid making decisions based upon fear and should not rely on military power alone. joining me now is chuck todd moderator of "meet the press" and political director at nbc news. how kredably are white house officials administration
officials considering this claim? >> you mean on the -- look not a lot of credibility actually because it's coming from isis number one. and it's the way isis is trying to portray things that it's -- you know that it was somehow a jordanian fighter jet that did this. so which is obviously the propaganda version of the story that isis would love for it to be true. that's why i think there is a lot more skepticism and always hesitance and skepticism but it feels more than normal when isis -- unfortunately as we know, this is all too common when they announce the death of another hostage. >> of course jordan has been reacting to the death of a jordanian hostage so brutally in recent days. we saw marches in the streets and the queen joining the people in recent hours and paying tribute. is this a propaganda move meant
in part to drive a wedge between the u.s. and jordan one of the closest military allies in the region? >> i think that was -- that may have been isis' attempt but it seems in the case of jordan that it truly back fired. if you've watched isis with this hostage strategy and how they dealt with countries in the region. turkey did negotiate it seemed with isis jordan looked like they were willing to negotiate if there had been proof of life. but i think you know perhaps isis thought maybe that they would turn public opinion in jordan with them or against the idea of being involved in the coalition. whatever isis thought they were going to get on propagandawise it's clear back fired. and the next question is will other countries in the arab world get as defiant as jordan has gotten publicly and that would be an important development and crucial one in the administration's attempt to keep this coalition together? >> of course these kind of air strikes vulz always have the risk of human collateral and
controversial on ground for that very reason. what effect is this likely to have politically speaking in terms of the support for this operation against isis if in fact it turns out to be true? >> i don't think this has any more impact. i think -- meaning, there is support for going after isis in u.s. congress and clearly there's support on it. but not an agreement on what the best strategy is at this point, which has been the source of so much debate which is way people are watching the susan rice speech you've been referring to so closely. i think at this point i don't think this development somehow means, okay boy now congress is going to act. i think that that majority is there. >> the news does come at a moment where there is those on the hill saying this isn't going to work without troops on the ground. >> well i think that that seems to be -- that's where and you talk to some officials who admit
there really is disagreement going on in the obama national security team. some even describe it in other reports as paralysis inside that room. and the paralysis in some cases has to do with what i keep referring to as iraq war syndrome a little bit. which is it is having -- and understandably so an administration brought in end wars and withdrawal of troops in the middle east the problem is there, they can't find a strategy that would work that doesn't involve more u.s. troops and it's not something i think the president is not ready to relent on that. you know, he's relented a little bit. he's added to the troop levels in iraq and added somewhere they think it's necessary, but this is still a very we'ry administration when it comes to the administration of more troops. chuck, big picture, is the president obama who pledged to step away from these foreign conflicts to focus more on the domestic, to wind down our
involvement in this particular part of the world especially long gone now? is that his tri, impossible to pursue? >> it's hard to imagine because the middle east seems more unstable today than ever. historians will try to decide over time how much of that is just bad timing on the president's part and how much of this is about the fallout from the decision to go into iraq in the first place. this all is going to be historical debate. what i find fascinating, if you didn't realize it before the country does collectively care more about how the president manages an economy than manages foreign policy. the president's ratings were completely reversed about a year and a half to two years ago for a long period of time. higher ratings on foreign policy and lower on the economy. when you have low rating on the economy, the overall job approval was low. and now reversed. it directly impacts it. so i think as far as their
concerned politically, they feel they are in a stronger position despite the fact that the country is losing confidence in the national security leadership. >> chuck todd, moderator of "meet the press." always a pleasure. be sure to watch on sunday, about to get to that. many issues will be on the table when chuck sits down with john kerry on the next "meet the press." we're going to have much more on these reports of isis' claims unverified at this point that an american was killed in a recent air strike. later this hour entertainment news, story that has the entire world buzzing, "fifty shades of gray." i'll sit down with the author, e.l. james. gave people the power of the review. and now angie's list is revolutionizing local service again. you can easily buy and schedule services from top-rated providers. conveniently stay up to date on progress. and effortlessly turn your photos into finished projects with our angie's list app.
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jordanian strike in raqqa, an isis stronghold in syria. back with me now chief pentagon correspondent jim mimiklaszewski any new information? >> no and u.s. officials somewhat frustrated by all of this say it would almost be impossible to actually verify until unfortunately as we've seen in the past in these brutal videos that isis releases just them announcing that they have -- this american female hostage was killed by an air strike is not good enough for the u.s. military officials and government. they need some evidence some proof. so far they have no independent intelligence to verify that claim unfortunately it may take that kind of video. it's important to remember here not only is isis fighting a military war on the ground there in syria and iraq but fighting a
psychological war with the world, particularly with the u.s. in many cases through the use of these propaganda videos, their brutality and in some case the manipulation really everybody's emotions by announcing that this american female hostage had been killed in an air strike. impossible to verify now but u.s. officials are still doing the best they can to see whatever information they can get. >> manipulation seems partly intended for military leadership and this comes at a time of great cooperation between jordan and the united states and time when jordan is doubling down on operations. we'll see how this impacts that relationship. really appreciate it. >> we're going to have much more on those reports of an american killed by isis in that strike when we come back. also new developments in europe. looking for peace in ukraine.
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over the wires from jordan from the claims that a jordanian air strike killed a hostage they were holding. they are saying isis is being ill logical and they are lying. what was a woman doing in their weapon or storage facility. u.s. officials not confirming on their end isis' claims either that this american hostage has been killed. joining me on the phone, evan kohlmann, he tracks this kind of terrorist activity. on that front, what kind of chatter and reaction are you seeing online? >> i think you're seeing exactly what you would expect to see, we're seeing isis supporters trying to use twitter and other social media platforms to galvanize a sentiment against jordan now. in other words, i think there's been some awareness in the eyes of isis and its supporters that
they didn't exactly come out too well at the end of the whole pilot saga the execution of the jordanian pilot. i don't think it helped them particularly in jordan. it was clear it was a deliberate effort on the part of isis to try to reverse that trend and use social media to now put it back on the jordanian government and get people to blame jury began for the killing of the hostage, claiming it was hasty military action -- >> let's talk about that. what kind of online chatter are you seeing in response of jordanian strikes which have redoubled? >> we're seeing video now coming out from isis from their actual media office in raqqa, showing what they purport to show is local muslims celebrating the burning of the jordanian pilot. in other words, it's really a message of defiance.
they don't seem to be -- by this. they seem to be using propaganda in an effort to get the jordanians to stop. that's been noted. >> evan kohlmann thank you for updating us. >> we have held off on the identity and that has changed and we can report that kayla muler, from prescott arizona, she was leaving a spanish doctors without borders hospital at the time and our thoughts continue to be with her family. ukrainians running for their lives fleeing the government held town, now a battle field for russian backed separatists in the ukrainian military. it's been pounded by shelling over the past two weeks and convoys of buses have been leaving the town today carrying more than 500 local residents to
safety. imagine your town were under attack of militants with armored vehicles and tanks. those defending the town xrounked for whatever supplies they could find. that's the playing field there in eastern ukraine. there may be a new answer crowd funding. this story caught our eye. one man who used his social networks to crowd source $500,000, half a million dollars to outfit the group of ukrainians he found on the front lines, fighting in t-shirts and crocs. that man joins me now along with michael weiss who wrote a story, which is quite gripping. what inspired you to do this? >> because when i saw -- when it came to army ukraine army it was in june and when i saw how
real they have nothing, nothing. >> they needed the support. >> yeah and they needed support. and i need to do something. i need to help my army. >> and you have certainly done that. this is an unprecedented step right, michael for a crowdsourcing effort in the military financing world? >> that's right, you have to understand when the war kicked off, ukraine's military was so hollowed out by the yanukovych government that anyone willing to fight, including journalists and doctors and revolutionaries were enlisted and said we'll send you to the front and give you ak-47s and ammunition but everything else you're on your own. ivan is a volunteer battalion fighter, there's two dozen or three dozen fighting on the front lines of ukraine, everything from toilet paper to
combat boots and overcoats, these things have to be obtained individually by the battalion leaders. >> were you surprised by how many people gave money? >> yeah. really was surprised and a lot of businessmen and it was ukrainian -- ukrainian community in new york and they give me first money, $500. it was from here -- >> a mobilized community. >> give me moneys and i think -- yeah, we can do this. i can do this. i'm feeling i can help my guys. i can help my soldiers. and a lot of people saw this
picture of them giving me money, american picture and a lot of people said okay ivan you're doing a good job. >> then it just took off from there. >> and thinking involved feeling in my heart i need to do this but it's really -- >> it's a powerful story, ivan. >> it's a brave new world for people everywhere who want to change a global story like this. how central to the outcome on the ground in ukraine, michael is the actual funding for these forces right now? >> well i think it's begun to shift. we're now into i think the fourth mobilization of the ukrainian army. the army is taking on more of the combat role, particularly now in three separate fronts. ener losing i would submit russian backed separatists and soldiers are fighting this campaign. there's a call-up for professional soldiers.
this is why the poroshenko government is desperate for munitions and military equipment from the united states anti-tank missiles and radio communications equipment. they are using walky talkies you find on paint ball tournament fields and russians have excellent communications intelligence. >> david versus goliath. >> thank you so much for your time. really appreciate it. we'll keep tabs on your effort there. >> thanks. >> we now have photos more breaking news of that u.s. hostage that isis claims was killed in an air strike. we're releasing the pictures with the identity of her family, kayla kayla muler. as we mentioned, she was taken captive in aleppo buy sis sis, she was leaving a doctors without borders hospital. that he was courageous work she was doing. our thoughts are with her family.
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an update for you on breaking news we've been following all hour. the u.s. government is still not confirming reports that an american hostage was killed in an jordanian air strike. isis has claimed on propaganda websites that this hostage, the family has allowed us to identify her as kayla mueller was killed in an air strike in raqqa, we are reporting her identity with the family's permission. she was a 26-year-old humanitarian worker from prescott, arizona, we do not know of her fate at this point. our thoughts are with her family and every hope is riding on survival. she was taken captive in aleppo in august of 2013. she was leaving a spanish doctors without borders hospital doing humanitarian work there. we'll continue to watch that story. next we have an entertainment story worth bringing you, e.l. james, the author of "fifty shades of
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mr. grey will see you now. ♪ >> i'm used to getting my own way. >> it must be really boring. ♪ >> breathe. just beyond this door. >> what is? >> my play room. you mean my you mean your x box and stuff. >> it was two books being sold every second in this series for a total, more than 100 million sales. unprecedented. the trilology has been controversial, known by some as chicklet. now it's looking to be a movie
fenphenomenon phenomenon. online box office site fandango said it's already the fastest selling film in the 15-year history. the woman behind the sensation, the suburban british mother in decades long marriage erika mitchell the woman you might know as e.l. james is with us right now. thank you for doing this. i know you are not in front of the camera a lot and i really appreciate it. it's an important story to tell because it has changed the world of what people expect from books and this particular subject has changed so much. but i want to talk to you about who erika was before the fifty shades phenomenon? >> erika was a happy old woman working in television. she's very uncomfortable being in front of the camera she's much happier being behind it. >> i respect that. you told me when we first met
the story of how this idea came to you and it was somewhat unexpected. >> yes, yeah i mean i wrote -- this was originally written as twilight fan fiction and i fell in love with it and read the books and last time i absolutely adored the books. read them over five days and reread them and then i wrote my first novel. then i wrote another novel and found out about fan fiction so i thought i'll have a go at that. i wrote one and then while i was doing that i had the idea for what became fifty shades and started to write it chapter at a time. >> your fan fiction was -- >> snow queens ice dragon which is really embarrassing. when you're trying to write a name they are all used up. >> why snow queens ice dragon? >> it's a private joke between my husband and i. >> we won't pry. >> more than 100 million copies sold dinner table conversation in every home around america for
a time. how has it changed your life to be that prominent? >> well, i try not to be which why i don't like to be in front of the to be in front of the camera. i like to be down the street and nobody know that i'm there. i try not to do that. i do more traveling since then. >> recently went to toek and i'm here now. but apart from that it is just trying to stay under the radar, which is what i like. >> which we are ruining now. but there are people are saying this isn't literature. when i tweeted, people said how could you -- it is so low-brow. but it has proved there can be this massive scale literary. are you proud of the books? >> yes. of course. i wrote them for myself essentially. so i only had me to please and i did. i think what has been extraordinary is that other women have picked them up and adore them and it has brought
women to reading. only yesterday i got an e-mail from a woman who was 47 who said she hadn't picked up a book since school and she just read all three. and that was amazing. absolutely amazing. so to do that and i've lots and lots and lots of those e-mails, it has been just awesome. >> and yet the counter point to that are those that say because of the content of the book is glorifies the abuse of women. there are hash tags on that people on social media trending the hash tag 50 shades of abuse. 50 dollars and not 50 shades of abuse, asking people to donate $50. >> i'm against violence to women. this is a love story. if this was a story about abuse, women wouldn't love it. they recognize what is about the story that appeals to them. it is a very strong young woman
who brings a man out and turns him around. >> and it does strike me you told me when we first met, don't read them. >> it is about men -- i get uncomfortable about it. >> tell me about that. why does it make you uncomfortable uncomfortable. >> it is written for me. other women love it. it goes from young women up to 95 years old. it is not written for women. it is written for women. it is a fantasy for women. >> and so i butted in. >> it is beauty and the beast. >> and the girl is a virgin and falls in love with a man that is a love of her life and very domestic. was that a deliberate goal? >> i think it is from all of the romance novel. and it is a romance novel.
and my early 30s was spent reading romance novels. joann lindsay, joanna joyce and i go on and on. and it is boy meets girl and how they don't get together in the beginning and it is absolutely that. >> despite the talk there is that traditional core. and yet there is that traditional magnet of controversy and you say this is about women and em you toers for women -- empowers women. and one viewer said how can you release something that disregard disregards enthusiastic content. >> it shows she hasn't read the book. there is consent. and they haven't read it. there is enthusiasm.
ana is enthusiastic. trust me. so yeah. whenever anyone says that i know you haven't read the book. >> what was your biggest concern in bringing this to the screen? >> was doing the sex. i didn't want it to be trashy and nasty and all of that kind of stuff. so that was -- that was i think my biggest, biggest concern. >> the hype machine is in full swing. are you happy with how the movie turned out. >> yes, i am. it took us a long time to get there but it is -- i think because it is such a passionate fan-dom behind it and this grew out of fan-dom so i understand what it is like to be part of that. and i wanted them to be as enthusiastic about the film as they are about the the book and that was important to me. >> you talked about what a long hard road it was to get here. it is challenging for any author to be brought to the screen.
with j.k. rowling and every time there is a paradigm that you have control. >> i think i was lucky in a sense that everybody wanted -- all of the studdos wanted the -- the studies wanted the book i could be the producer and be involved in the whole process. >> and how hard was it to fight that fight. how hard did you have to push? >> i had to push pretty hard on some things. >> there were reports it was confrontational on set, et cetera. >> it is just the media making a story. so no it was -- it was hard in places but you have several creative individuals in a room. of course people are going to butt heads and that is what happened. but it is great that what we ended up with the fans will be pleased with. >> and the bible belt is very very excited. some conservative communities going after this.
ticket sales in mississippi four times than what is expected according to fandango. what is that? >> women love a good love story. >> and this is that. >> and another question with your social media. can you see it with your mother? >> yes. >> e.l. james and despite your alleged camera fear you are extremely outgoing. >> thank you very much. >> and good luck with the movie. and a disclaimer. distributed by our parent company but this is a story that personally interested me. that is my time. stick around for "the reid report" everyone.
starting with breaking news. isis released a message claiming money american woman they've been holding as a hostage has been killed in an air strike. kay lay mueller is her name. the state department cannot confirm the news and neither has nbc news confirmed the claim. claiming she was hit in a building hit by jordanian aircraft. but it is believed that isis is lying. they asked how they can distinguish between allied eric. and what was a woman during near a training center or a storage center which is the jordan targets. they have taken a greater role in airstrikes for the death of